Jimmy Estes is an owner operator out of Tulsa, Oklahoma who pulls over-sized oil field equipment from Tulsa to the port in Houston, TX. Jimmy tells us that about a year ago, he was lucky enough to lease to Integrity Transportation out of Tulsa, OK and has never been more at home. Linda and Jackie Morton are the owners of Integrity Transportation and Jimmy says they truly care about their lease operators and drivers, and treats them all as one big family.
About 16 years ago, Jimmy was test driving another Star in Denver, CO when Brad from Brad’s Truck and Trailer Sales in Tulsa gave him a call to let him know this 1985 Heritage 4964 was available. Jimmy was already familiar with the truck and its current owner Bob Crandall who owned Crandall’s Car Crushers. Brad let him know that Bob had passed away, and the truck was available. Jimmy said, “I told Brad I would take it as long as he took my Pete off my hands. Brad said he would, but didn’t I want to drive it first? I said no, I knew Bob, and I would be there in couple of days get the paperwork started. That’s how I became the second owner of this full Canadian truck.” So, with the support of his wife of 28 years, Debbie, Jimmy turned in his 1981 Pete 359 and the rest is history.
Jimmy’s Western Star 4964 was painted by his friend Ron along with his sons Chris and Matt who own C & B Auto Repair in Skiatook, OK. Jimmy created the design using his talents he honed while running his own sign shop in Glenpool, OK a few years back. He worked on the graphics for 2 months until he was finally satisfied, and says he picked the color because it was different from everything else out there. For the record, it’s Sherman Williams Berry Red Metallic and the graphics are metallic silver, metallic red, brimstone yellow and pastel orange.
Jimmy’s Star has a 3406B Caterpillar engine estimated at 500 hp, 15 over deep reduction transmission, and 3.90 rears on a Neway air ride suspension. It has a 254″ wheel base with Canadian 56 1/2″ drive axle spacing. The motor was built by Chuck Hall of Tulsa who still helps maintain it along with Tony McCollom of T&T Diesel Services. It’s been through some modifications including the head, pump, cam, turbo and nozzles. Jimmy’s best guess at the mileage is about 1 million plus and tells us he’s aware of at least three speedometer replacements. While the truck doesn’t officially have a name, Jimmy says his mechanic and some old friends call it “The Monster” as a nod to the horsepower.
Since it’s an older Star, we wanted to know how he’s managed to be successful finding parts. He tells us that it’s a mixture of building, fabricating or modifying parts from other trucks and using a lot of aftermarket or rebuilt Caterpillar parts for the engine. Once, when he was in Dallas, a friend told him about the folks at Bond Equipment who convert older heritage truck dumps or winch trucks, and take care to actually remove parts instead of ripping them out. At Bond Equipment, he has the help of his friend Eddie who, having been there for 30 years, certainly knows his parts and is always searching the internet from eBay to Craig’s List for those hard to find parts.
For the more decorative treatments, Jimmy finds the universal stuff such as lights from Dave’s Trucks in Sapulpa, OK. All the light panels and other metal work he did at his race car fabrication shop, 711 Race Cars in Bristow, OK. On the inside, he took the 60″ bunk out and put a newer style 66″ bunk in. His next project is the dash which will be clear satin aluminum with black gauges and switches. Jimmy’s father found about 10 yards of the original material for the cab which is fortunate as he’s trying to keep everything original as much as possible.
Jimmy starts at sunrise and finishes at sunset, and as you can imagine, it takes a team to haul oil field equipment through Texas. Jimmy tells us there are 11 owner operators and 10 company trucks on the team, plus 5 trucks in the hot shot division. His largest load recently was 95,000 lbs., 16 feet tall, and 14 feet wide. He told us that back in the 80’s, he had a lot of fun making turns and maneuvering around when he pulled a load that was 140 feet long into old downtown Wilkes-Barre, PA. Apparently, he’d rather do that than paperwork any day.
We asked Jimmy how he got into the business. He told us he worked with his dad for several years where he learned glass and upholstery, diamond tuck, and roll pleats. “But, I figured out I did not like being in a shop, and then I figured out I did not like punching a time clock,” he said. His step-father taught him how to drive when he was 16, so he moved on from the upholstery business and started driving a wrecker then semi’s. He still enjoys doing something different than everybody else. To unwind, he races an International Motor Contest Association (IMCA) Outlaw Modified. He was racing asphalt modified until the track closed, but managed to get five consecutive championships before they did. Now that’s how to unwind.
Let us know in the comments below if you’re looking for parts or custom work and would like to get in touch with any of the businesses Jimmy uses. We have the numbers and can put you in touch with them.